Showing posts with label Marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marriage. Show all posts

Thursday, March 27, 2014

the salad and the cone

the corn chip joke
This picture alone is kinda funny, but if you click it, it takes you to an even funnier cartoon of a drunk wife's joke.

Because everyone's experience of marriage is different, I usually find it unnecessary to compare marriage notes. Except of course when it comes to purchases of socks and underwear. On that subject, I'm chatty beyond reason. I'll even go so far as to poll the woman who avoids eye contact with me at carpool.

So let's chat, Reader. Here's what I would like to know: When did I become the primary sock and underwear purchaser for my entire household? At some point we must have made the switch, but I have no recollection of taking on the duty. And yet, I'm pretty certain it happened pre-kids, back when we both had jobs and social lives. Is this something you're in charge of in your house?

I mean, what gives? Why the magnanimous gesture that now requires me to stand in TJ Maxx and try to remember whether it's the ones without the mesh or the ones with the mesh? I'm not even going to tell you whether I'm talking about socks or underwear. I should leave something to your imagination.*

Okay, there was originally going to be more to this post than bemoaning the level of detail I've acquired about my husband's personal garment preferences. I'll try to bring it back around. I guess what I'm saying is that my marriage isn't perfect, but it is full of both surprises and predictability. Nothing against surprises, but I'll take predictability any day.

Did you read the Goop article about "conscious uncoupling"? It left the entire gossipy internet wondering why she included a polemic on marriage after the jump. Many have said much already, so I'll spare you a dissection of the nonsensical gibberish on bugs and Russian esotericists. I mention it because part of me is interested in learning about other people's divorces, especially of a couple who seemed so perfect from the outside like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. I'll admit it, I'm curious.

Maybe I wonder about what pushed them over the edge because it seems like it'd be so impossible for us to divorce and still be friends, like Larry & Laurie David. I suppose we might if either of us were as witty and disarming as Larry David. Speaking of, he did a hilarious episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld. I loved Jerry's take on why Larry got divorced, and I happen to agree with his notion of setting the mood. If I'm getting an ice cream cone, you'd better not order a salad. We're in this together, socks and all.

*I should probably note that I don't actually mind buying socks and underwear for my husband. But feigning incredulity at my lot in life is one of the ways I martyr myself to get appreciation. I know, I know. I might be the actual worst.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

marital shorthand

That thing where you can have an entire conversation with your spouse using mostly monosyllabic sounds...

Nate: Gah.
Me: What?
Him: Nothing.
Me: Oh, that?
Him: Yeah.
Me: Mmmm.
Him: Ugh.
Me: I know, yikes.

*****************

This morning the kids were driving me nuts while I was trying to make their breakfast, and I ended up accidentally grabbing the wrong bottle to sprinkle on their oatmeal. I was running late as it was and didn't have time to make new oatmeal. Spousal levity is a great method of diffusing these moments.


Monday, March 25, 2013

everything tastes of porridge

I love that expression because it denotes the practical reality of our domestic affairs that creeps into my fantasies of married life, impinging on my daydreams of intimate beachy vacations for two. Home life, y'all, has its doldrums.

Take, for instance, my husband (please!). He takes forever to pick out new clothing, by which point I have bought everything I need for myself and two other human beings, eaten a lunch of pizza and cucumber salad, let them play on the outdoor clay turtles for two hours, gotten a pedicure, and read Crime and Punishment. I say all this out of love and jest, of course, and I'm happy he has selected for himself a lovely martyr of a wife who will gladly plop herself on the bed to watch the runway show ("do you like these gray pants, or these other gray pants that look exactly the same?") in return for a nightly foot rub.

In truth, I realize I dish out as much of the ridiculousness as I endure, probably more. For example, the other night we were watching Argo (Good movie. Oscar-worthy? Sure, why not). I know he doesn't like it when I talk during a movie that he's seeing for the first time and really wants to watch, particularly if it's a dramatic cliffhanger. I also know that he doesn't really care about film trivia, i.e. what happened behind the scenes when thus-and-so director made the actors do such-and-such to get the scene just right. However, I still inserted such dialogue during Argo. I dunno, I can't stop myself. Lucky for me, he mostly chooses not to repine about it.

By the same token, I do also delight in having found someone to whom I can grumble to about the length of a shopping trip, only to have him come back with a riposte about one of my peccadillos. What others might call bickering we see as witty banter.

Okay, your turn. What about you? Tell me something of your marital repartee.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gibran, on marriage

Even though I wasn't a member of the 1960's counterculture, I still appreciate The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Have you ever read it? I have no idea what happened to the tattered copy I had in college, but when I get around to purchasing another copy, I'd like it to be from a thrift store so it has the similarly worn feel. I wish I could possess a tenth of his brilliance, but then, something tells me he wouldn't like me wishing that. Whenever I've encountered a milestone in life, I've often found myself flipping through the book to see what Gibran has to say on the subject.

In keeping with that trend, yesterday after I wrote about wanting to write about marriage--a writer's mise en abyme, or more likely, a narcissist's worldview?--I turned to Gibran's thoughts on marriage from The Prophet. [n.b. equally wonderful are his thoughts on joy and sorrow and on children]. I thought you might like to read along with me:

 You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. 
      You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days. 
      Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. 
      But let there be spaces in your togetherness, 
      And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. 
      Love one another but make not a bond of love: 
      Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. 
      Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. 
      Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. 
      Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, 
      Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. 
      Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. 
      For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. 
      And stand together, yet not too near together: 
      For the pillars of the temple stand apart, 
      And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow. 


-Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet

From our trip to Stockholm, 2006

Saturday, March 16, 2013

home again, home again

Circa 2005. Awwww.

Nate is home after a week away. I'm always glad to have him back where he belongs. The missing piece of the puzzle is back again, and all is right in our world.

I've been pondering writing about marital discourse and the ebbs and flows of love and intimacy. I've got stuff to say on that part of life, and I think they might be interesting thoughts. Where might such thoughts get published, though? I dunno. I prefer to keep the blog about whatever it is the blog is about, you know? Incoherent ramblings and such. I'm not funny enough for Jezebel, not witty enough for Slate, not pithy enough for the New Yorker. So what does that leave, Good Housekeeping? If you have thoughts on the matter, I'm open to hearing them.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

our Parisian selves

There's a picture I love in the upstairs hallway. It sits on our Georgian desk (called so because it's from the Georgian period in England, not because it's from Georgia...am I a brat or what?), and I can see it while I walk up the stairs.


Nate has been gone for another two-week international work trip and arrives home again today. I find myself looking at the picture more when he's away, probably because I miss him. I imagine that the people in the picture are actually another version of us, living in Paris and sitting in squares and leisurely eating bread. Somehow, when I'm in the middle of parental squalor and chaos, this vision of our Parisian selves gets me through the moment. Maybe some day we'll make it back to Paris and meet up with our parallel universe. You think?

What are your tricks to achieve the "Ohm" state of mind?

Monday, August 06, 2012

mother's day year-round {plus blueberry syrup}

It's a rare thing, but occasionally a weekend comes along that I am able to step out of my mom role for long enough, even if it's just a day, and just BE. Not be anyone's meal-maker or clothes-washer, but just read a book or maybe even be pampered for a change. Has this happened for you? Friends, let me tell you how wonderful it is.

When Nate got back from his long work trip, he had a brilliant idea. Why not use some of his points for a night in a hotel room, just for me to relax? I agreed, why not?! It was a great suggestion, and three months later I finally took him up on it. I invited my best local bud to come along. We had a fantastic time eating, shopping, and wandering Boston together.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May flowers

I had a great Mother's Day weekend! The hubs really pulled out all the stops, so I had another holiday of not having to change diapers, give baths, or make dinner. We went for a long bike ride yesterday to our town center to have some ice cream, towing the girls in a trailer for the first time. I only feared for their safety 99.9% of the time; but even with the fear, I'd call the trip a deliriously fun success.



Sunday, February 26, 2012

this mustache is bespoked for you

The hubster left yesterday--on his thirty first birthday--for an international work trip. I was sad to see him go but happy we celebrated his big day in style before he left. We met some of his work buddies for drinks, and they surprised him with mustaches and top hats for all of us to wear. I say surprised "him" because the accoutrements were my idea. Why yes, I am amazing. Thanks for noticing.

Well, how do you do? I do very well, thank you. Indeed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

i heart my husband


I so rarely give Nate a big thumbs up for being a caring, kind, providing, adorable hubster, so I hope you'll bare with me while I get mushy for a moment. On Sunday, I spent the day with my aunt and Vivi's cousin. I brought the girls along with me, so Nate had the whole day to himself. You could call the day to himself an early, albeit slightly unromantic, Valentine's present from me. But when you have two Tasmanian devils, you'll understand the allure of "me time." Trust me, it's a good gift.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

quarrel of miniscule proportion

Do you guys get frustrated when your gimpy, broken-leg husband, couch-ridden in the next room, shouts pearls of wisdom like "Just feed her already!" about your sick, whining baby--when you are already in the process of making her a scrambled egg and all he's doing is watching TV?

No?

Me neither. Just checking.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

if the shoe fits, put it in your pipe and smoke it

Nate: What are you doing?
Me: Reading Facebook posts about the GA/FL game.
Nate: I just think that is pointless.
Me: UGH, yes, we know this.
Nate: I don't think you get why I don't like it.
Me: You are a snob, that's why.
Nate: No, it's not that. I just don't think I'm important enough that people will care what I have to say.
Me: Uh huh, and what I just heard is, "Blah blah blah you think you're important."
Nate: Ummmm. Yes. That's correct.
Me: Ergo, you're a snob. Glad we agree.

Blammo!

In other more dire news, we are almost certainly going to lose power to our house in the next few hours or days. This situation is thanks to the wet snow we got last night (in October!) and the fact that we are having a strangely late fall so the oaks still have green leaves. All this means that we now have a semi-disconnected heavy tree branch pressing on our power lines going to the house. Wah wah waaahhh.

We had a great visit with the Hair men this weekend (dad, brother, and grandfather). It's always fun to see my daughter bond with my dad, but the best part this weekend was watching Billy depose my dad as the new king in Vivi's life. She played with him nonstop for literally six hours straight yesterday. Kudos to him for being able to keep up with her. "Whirling dervish" is the nickname my grandfather gave her. I'll post some pictures and stories soon. For now, here's a couple from the vault I stumbled upon recently. Check out the sweet 'stache, socks, track jacket, and hat my dad was sporting. Doesn't it scream '70s? Love it!



Friday, October 07, 2011

cookie monster

Me, to my stomach, while Vivi was in school yesterday: I am NOT going to eat my three-year-old's delicious cookie that is shaped like a cat, coated in dark chocolate, and delicately flavored with a hint of amaretto. I'm just telling you that right now, stomach. I will NOT eat her cookie.

It's a good thing, too, because as soon as she got home, Vivi pronounced that it was now to be cookie-eating time, not having forgotten the score she made the previous day from Grandma and Grandpa. I handed over the cookie, glanced down at my computer for a millisecond, and looked back up to see this face.


And it was so worth the sacrifice. I just wish I had changed her out of her picture-day clothes first.

I might just imbibe in my own treat tonight, a little of my giant vat of Bailey's Irish Cream that Nate brought home for me. A present, he said, for being such a great daughter-in-law while his parents were visiting. Secretly I don't see what the big deal is, since they are a delight to be around, insisting on paying for everything including our mountainous score from the consignment half-price bonanza and siding with me on all marital squabbles. What's not to love? But knowing what I do about looking at gift horses' mouths, I will gladly accept my tasty reward.

Cheers and many xoxoxos!
~J

Saturday, October 01, 2011

we are fam-I-LY...

My in-laws are in town, and Vivi is super excited to have new people she can inundate with her incessant, hilarious questions about life. Tonight was a good example of me feeling sorry I brought up a topic. During "Talk About It," our first of three bedtime rituals (which I invented when I was a kid and still adore to this day), I casually brought up the fact that tomorrow is our seventh wedding anniversary.

"What's an anniversary?" (Ok, so I knew this question was coming)

"Mommy and Daddy met a long time ago and fell in love, and then we got married, and now we are living happily ever after with you and Charlotte."

"You got married? Did I watch it happen?"

"No, you weren't born yet."

"Where was I? What's born?"

Cue exit music...

We are celebrating tomorrow's milestone with brunch, our favorite meal ever. Then I will do some major consignment-sale-shopping, and we'll probably do some hiking. We'll end the evening as the major nerds we are and watch the new Ken Burns' special, Prohibition. According to NPR, it's one of the only watchable programs on TV this fall. What's up with that?

I had fun reliving our wedding photo album tonight. Here are a few goodies:

 Even though half of me is cut off in this one, I love that I am barefoot. Typical me in my 20's. I won the battle, shoes, but you won the war. And I loved that dress. Goodbye size 2.


I sooo had forgotten Nate had a soul patch at our wedding. There's one for the time capsule!


I think I mighta got my hair did. Hello blondie!


This one is a bit random, but get a load a' those guns. How depressing.

 I love how giddy he is in this picture. A little because we just got married, a bit more that we are in Hawaii on our honeymoon, but mostly because we are about to commence a huge all-you-can-eat luau. I am so fortunate to have embarked on this journey with this man, and seeing this picture again makes me realize how much I love him even more now. I know, it's cheesy. What can I say? When it comes to romance, I am a big cheese ball...but maybe mozzarella, not one of those gross multi-colored kind that they roll in nuts. What ARE those?

There are eleventy billion more pictures in this album that Nate took of me in a bikini. All I have to say about them is this: So long pre-baby boobies. You were loved.




Monday, September 26, 2011

my cat is like the honey badger...

...aka how NOT to bathe your cat...

It isn't often that you learn something about a man after being with him for over ten years. Friends, I learned something about my husband last night.

I've always known him to be well groomed and to expect the same from me. Part of his appeal when we were courting was that he was the only 20-year-old guy I knew who used Pantene. Pantene! I was whisked away by the scents of a dewey meadow, and now here we sit ten years later philosophizing about the value of pets. To be clear, we were actually discussing whether or not we should keep our cat. To be even more clear, he was discussing, I was hysterically raving. If it had been a silent movie, you would have sensed how I was feeling.

So ok, some stuff happened in the middle. I'll back up a bit. Recently we noticed our once perfectly coiffed, lovely gray cat has been getting rough around the edges. Like the nastyass honey badger, she just don't care about cleaning herself. It's as though she has suddenly decided to grow dreads on her back, which makes for some gross petting. What could we do? Well, we started by cutting off the problem, but that was no use, as though the cutting caused little baby dreads to spring up out of the stubs. It was not a pretty sight.

We chose to ignore the situation for a while, until this weekend's cleaning fest. I really do wish my in-laws would visit more, both because I love seeing family and because an upcoming visit causes me to conduct a cleaning frenzy of the kind typically reserved only for selling your home. We're talking under the radiator, behind the cleaning products under the sink, outside of the windows kind of scrubbing.

That's when we got a tad overzealous. Looking around at our pristine home, I began to puff myself up, thinking I might just be a cleaning genius, one who could scrub even a cat until she shined like new. I even took pictures so I could photograph the great cat remodeling event of '11. Although I hate to say it, I was wrong. WRONG. Do not try this at home. Don't even think about it. There was much screaming (the cat and me), much combing, and some more cutting, and lots of fur flying about. And now? Now she resembles a sheep that's been shorn by a drunk, blind shepherd.

Which brings us to what I learned about Nate. After the failed experiment, we were bemusedly sitting about, contemplating what had just happened and our own new-found cat-cleaning ineptitude. I won't go into the details, but our conversation shifted into whether it was worth keeping an animal that's still got her cool personality but is no longer her once-gorgeous self. I was surprised to learn we are of different minds on the subject.

Sufficed to say, I will continue to maintain myself with hair cuts and trips to the gym, because I see where this train could go if I'm not grooming on a regular basis. I'm kidding of course. In fact, I am the fortunate recipient of daily remarks on how beautiful he thinks I am, despite sometimes still wearing last night's scrubby pjs in the afternoon and seriously needing to rethink how often I pluck my eyebrows. And make-up? What's that?

So let's recap. How to bathe your cat:

Step 1. Do not bathe your cat. Just don't do it!

Because I love you all, I will leave you with a photo that makes me chuckle. Happy cleaning!


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

the end of suffering

I stop cold for a few moments, silent, trying to decide what to do. The girls are in the back, unknowing, V still singing the song I abruptly stopped singing only a second ago.

Am I strong enough? 

I listen to a few bars of "Winnie the Pooh" before I can muster the courage to look. Finally, I glance up in my rearview mirror to study it again.

Shit, it's still there. But I didn't do it. This isn't my mess. Why do I care so much?

"Mommy, what are we doing?"

Decision time.

I pull the SUV into a driveway and spin around to head back the way I just came. The half-flattened, freshly hit squirrel is in mid-squat stance, fighting to try to stand. I stare at it, and somehow I feel like it's staring back.

Just do it already. He's suffering.

But as I prepare to floor the gas, he miraculously perks up a bit. Sure enough, he begins to walk, then scamper, back into the woods. I turn the car around yet again and head home, my head spinning, thoughts racing through my mind. Was I in such a hurry to put this squirrel out of his misery that I almost killed him unnecessarily? It would appear so. But what does that say about me?

Maybe I've always been this way, but it wasn't until I had children that I've realized how difficult it is for me to allow others to be subjected to unpleasant experiences. Once, Nate and I were in couples counseling, and the therapist asked Nate a question. Nate paused for what seemed like too long, and I immediately jumped in to respond. The therapist stopped me and asked me why I felt the need to interject. I pondered and said "I guess I felt like the pause was too long and awkward, and I was worried you would feel uncomfortable," to which he sarcastically quipped "How nice of you to be concerned with my feelings. But aren't we here to discuss your feelings?"

I'm currently reading a woman's memoir that highlights suffering and the quest to terminate it. She says wise philosophers, spiritual or otherwise, point out with certainty that "the end of suffering happens at the end of wanting." Clearly this statement means little to the squirrel in the road, or to anyone enduring physical pain, but it speaks volumes to me and my desire, nay, need to squash suffering. There are times when Vivi dares to introduce herself to strangers at the playground, and they do not answer her, typically because they are much older or in the midst of a game. My instinct is to swoop in and protect her from any hurt feelings, but at this age she takes the slight in stride, continuing about her play. I know one day she may take it personally, and when that times comes, I will be forced to make a choice. To swoop, or not to swoop. I hope I will have learned by then that wanting to spare her the pain does us no good. In fact, it could be that a little suffering goes a long way to teaching a lesson, and if I intervene, I rob the sufferer of their due education.

This morning, as I was doing the dishes, there was a giant "BOOM!" in the next room, which brought with it such a calamitous vibration that I thought a car must have driven into my home. One, two, three seconds.... "AAHHHHHHHH!" Nope, it was just Vivi, who apparently somehow launched her forehead full steam ahead into the living room wall, resulting in a waterfall of tears and a nice-sized welt. I swiftly took her into my lap and quietly calmed her as she cried the pain away. V's head bump reminded me that there are times where swooping is in order; and in those times, I will be there to end her suffering.

Monday, March 07, 2011

it turns out I was right

After a tough week of long working days, poor Nate brought home the flu with him from New York. We were so worried about bedbugs but didn't consider other nasty critters that could accompany him back home. I just wish he had gotten the flu shot like I asked! Sigh. Some good friends introduced us to the concept and phrase "it turns out you were right," which when uttered by a spouse is accompanied by an agreement that the winner will refrain from gloating...or from doing the "Nate's wrong" dance. But how could I gloat when my pitiable hubby is horizontally indisposed for a week, not to mention spreading germs to the rest of us? Being right sometimes isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Meanwhile, Vivi and I are doing our best to lay low and play quiet games like reading stories and making art collages. And occasionally I wander about wiping away the germs. Luckily Charlie got a flu shot at her 6-month check-up today, so I just hope it does its job.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Daddy's home!

Nate's been in New York on a business trip all week, working from dawn until 1am some days. Vivi has missed him soooo much, more than she ever has before. I think my mom said three years old was the year I became a real Daddy's girl, and for the first time I can see how it's happening with Vivi. He's coming home today, and Vivi is super excited to see him. She said to me yesterday, "Mommy, I want to go on a work trip with Daddy. That would be fun! It will be just the two of us, right Mommy?"

To get her ready for his return, I took her to get her hair cut for the first time yesterday so she'll have something to surprise him with. Her pure unconditional love for us is so adorable, and I just wish I could keep a version of her this age forever. I will miss the little girl! While she was getting her hair cut, I was thinking of the munchkin who used to sit in the back of the car singing "Papa, Papa-zizi!" when she could barely talk. That little chubby tot is already forever gone! They grow up so fast.



Friday, February 25, 2011

birthday boy


Nate hits the big 3-0 today. It's a milestone that I think I might be more emotional than him about. Big surprise there, I know. For one thing, we have been together almost 10 years, which means I was right next to him for all of his 20's. I routinely do my wifely duty to give him a hard time, of which I'm sure there is evidence on this blog. But I think I rarely tell him how cool and special he is. If I can take a cheese-filled mushy moment, I'd just like to say for all the world to read that he is in fact very special and cool. In point of fact, it is he and not I who is supporting the 4 of us to live in a pretty house in a very posh New England town and drive 2 yuppie vehicles. It didn't escape my notice that in a year where many people cannot find a job at all, Nate managed to find a rather good promotion at a prestigious international consulting firm. If I can toot his horn a bit more, for the past 5 years he has spent his small amount of leisure time training high school boys to row, and more importantly (in my opinion), to become men. And he puts up with me and my sometimes crazy, always emotional state of mind. What a guy.

Tonight we are leaving the girls with a babysitter so we can finally jaunt into the city for some dinner and sightseeing. We'll get some drinks and then head to dinner at what else but a brasserie of course! Nothing like combining our great loves of beer and French food. I can't wait. Here's to another decade together. I hope it's just as fun as the last.

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